Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Experiment at the laundromat

Last night, I went to the laundromat. I was only one of two people there, other than the attendant, and the other person was reading a textbook, although I can't imagine how he could hear himself think. This is because the television was screamingly loud, worse than I have ever heard it, and tuned tyrannically to a marathon of The Family Guy.

Now, I don't like cartoons. But there are some cartoons I outright hate. Those are the ones that pelt you with incessant sarcasm in unbearable little screeching voices. Add an unspeakably loud volume and you have a nervous breakdown waiting to happen.

I suppose my experiment was somewhat passive aggressive. I could have demanded that the attendant turn it down, and I was actually going to, at first, especially after the only other customer left. But then I realized he was folding a huge order of uniform shirts and watching the television himself, hooting and guffawing every so often, and I thought, how can he stand it that loud? Can't he tell how insanely loud it is? What about when the commercials come in? They're almost worse! ARE YOU PAYING TOO MUCH FOR CAR INSURANCE? DEPRESSION HURTS! NOW AT DENNY'S!

I started going outside and watching my dryers from outside the window. I would go in, occasionally holding my ears (just to see if something that blatant might carry my message more clearly), quickly shoving more quarters in, and hurrying back outside. The whole place was vibrating with shrieky cartoon voices. The attendant glanced outside at me every so often, but otherwise paid no attention.

The experiment was over: the guy simply didn't notice or care.

When Scott came to collect me, he said, "Wow! The TV's really blasting in here!" and the attendant said, "Oh! Did you want me to turn it down?"


Scott saw this as an indication that he was a nice fellow who would have turned it down for me if I had only asked, and maybe that's true. Certainly, with my experiment completed, I will do that from now on.

I was just curious, that's all.